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  • Writer's pictureMichele Cartwright, CTA

And So It Begins

Updated: Oct 15, 2018

There was a time many years ago that one could step onboard a cruise ship without a reservation. I was about five years old when I was able to board my first cruise ship before saying Bon Voyage to my grandparents. I should have been excited, after all, the Love Boat episodes called me to cruise on the high seas despite not having a Captain as a father.Unfortunately, I was simply visiting my grandparents prior to their sailing and had to get off the ship before it departed. No Bon Voyage for me, but I was bound to get on a ship for more than an afternoon one day.

One day turned into years...

Thirty-four years passed before I would step on board with a ticket in hand. My husband, finally caving to my relentless urging - er, begging - gifted me a cruise vacation on the Mariner of the Seas. I spent countless hours researching cruises, cruise ships, staterooms, and ports. I knew the ship like it was my own home even before stepping foot onboard. My husband thought I was crazy (I was. Still am.), but I am so grateful he indulged my... obsession.

The passion to travel and the commitment to learn "everything" about travel led me down a path I never, ever, EVER thought I'd take.

I'm educated as a science teacher, but life sent me on a journey to be a stay-at-home mom to my three beautiful and inspiring children (they're rotten too - no need to be jealous!). After almost 15 years of working hard for no money (and all the rewards), my family encouraged me to start my own travel agency.

Wait, WHAT?!

I wasn't a business woman, I couldn't afford to pay rent on office space, I knew nothing about starting my own business. I didn't even have clients. No way. Not going to happen.

Except, it did.

Starting Destinations by Design was the scariest thing I've ever done in my professional life. It took tremendous courage for me to figure out the details (oh, those details!) and promote my business (marketing?! I don't have a marketing degree!). I'm shy (no one believes this) and quite content as an introvert, but my desire to help people experience the world with their loved ones trumped my fears.

Ultimately, I do not sell travel, I offer the experience that create lasting memories of a lifetime for some pretty amazing people.

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